Ethical shopping

Did you know that there are other places online to buy stuff that isn’t Amazon? Well there are a host of places that exist, they pay their fair share of tax and they treat their staff like human beings. The downsides are that there isn’t as much on offer, sometimes it can cost more and can take longer to arrive but at least you know that you’re being more ethical.

A quick disclaimer though: I am not getting paid nor am I getting any remuneration for sharing the following links.

By Madamebookmaster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • 7digital is where you can go to get your digital music from. There are mobile phone apps too. Not as big as a selection as iTunes, Google Play and Amazon but still my preferred way of getting music.
  • The Wordery is where I pretty much exclusively buy books from. Sometimes they’re actually cheaper than places like Amazon and you also get a free bookmark with each purchase which comes in handy!
  • Hive is slightly different from other online stores. They give a percentage of each transaction to an independent shop on the high street. You can buy DVDs, Blurays, books, vinyl as well as a bunch of other stuff.
  • Did you know that Oxfam has an online shop where it sells stuff you can get in their charity shops? Could you get more ethical than actually supporting a charity through your purchases?

This isn’t a comprehensive list of online retailers who are more ethical than Amazon but it’s a start. I will keep updating this as I find more.

Leaving his mark

It must have been the tenth time this week that he had walked down this back street. Each time he walked down it he didn’t see a single living soul. Yesterday he lingered by the door of the long abandoned lock up garage, surveying each direction to see if he could see anybody. He saw nobody. If he could see nobody, nobody could see him. He did the same today, checking twice to make sure. He was alone and wasn’t being watched.

Moving quickly, he put his rucksack on the floor, stretching his body as he bent down to unzip it. He had long thought about this moment. Today was the day. Today was the day that he was going to leave his mark on the world. Reaching into his rucksack, he grabbed the can of spray paint that he had nervously bought earlier. He practiced the conversation many times in his head for when he bought it. “I’m respraying my bike” he would say. The cashier didn’t ask because the cashier didn’t care enough to ask.

Shaking the can, he stepped forward towards the garage door. He suddenly became aware of how loud the can was rattling as he shook it. It was now or never. If anybody caught him now, he’d have to make a run for it.

Confidently he started to spray the design he had practiced dozens of times in his various notepads. It took no more than twenty seconds and he was finished. He put the spray can in his bag walked away, not sticking around long enough to admire his handiwork. The smell of the aerosol was thick in the air. He could blag his way out of it at this moment but he’d rather not. The adrenaline was pumping through his body. He smiled to himself as he made his way home. Today, he left his mark on the world. Tomorrow he will come back to take a picture of his handiwork. He would tell no one what he had done. It was his little secret.

The man with the bag returns

This morning I was disturbed whilst eating my breakfast. Bang! Bang! Bang! Someone was at my door.

It’s weird because generally no one ever knocks on my door and it’s twice in two days. I just assumed that perhaps my wife has ordered something online. I opened the door and the man from yesterday was there again, once more holding the random bag of groceries that was left outside my gate. “That bag is still there. Did you want it or could I have it?” I had just got up and was very confused. Did this man really come back to my house to ask for the bag? “I guess so. We don’t want it.” I replied. “Thanks buddy.” he said as he went back to his car which again was running in the middle of the road.

I closed the door and sat down. What is going on? Why did the man come back to my house? It’s just weird. I mean, I don’t know who’s bag it is or who it was intended for. Why did he feel the need to knock on my door again to ask for it? Why not just take it? What the Heck is he going to do with a bag of random stuff? Did he make the trip specifically back to my house on the off chance?

I reiterate what I said yesterday: Sometimes life where I live is odd.

Caretaker of perishable good

When I came back from work earlier I noticed that there was a shopping bag full of fruit and vegetables on the pavement propped up against my gate. “Weird” I said to myself. I sidestepped it thinking that someone has obviously just left it there by accident and should be back for it later.

I got changed, made myself a cup of tea and put the TV on. Having just worked a long day I started to nod off on the sofa. Bang! Bang! Bang! Someone was knocking at my door. With a start I woke up not knowing what was going on. Bang! Bang! Bang! The letter box went. I got up and opened the door. “Er I think you left your shopping outside” said a man. “Oh that’s not mine, it was there when I got back from work” I replied. The man looked a bit puzzled “Maybe someone left it for you” he answered. True. I didn’t think of that. My brother-in-law is a greengrocer but he doesn’t live anywhere near us and besides we’re seeing him this weekend, why would he drive all this way to randomly leave a bag of stuff? “I don’t think so, no one has mentioned it to us” I said. We both looked at each other. He opened it up to look at what was in it. I could see a pineapple on top. “I think someone has left it there and they might be back for it in a bit.” I added. The man looked at me and gave me a look to say “Yeah fair enough but it’s a bit weird no?”. He handed me the bag and left my front garden, getting into a car parked in the middle of the road with it’s engine still running and drove off.

I put the bag back where it was and went back to watching TV. I started to think about the situation. Someone has left a bag of fruit and vegetables outside my house for whatever reason. Maybe someone has left it outside the wrong house but why leave it outside the garden and not somewhere more secure?

I then thought about it some more. What happens if no one comes to collect it? I’ll have to dispose of it. What if I dispose of it now and then someone comes for it? What am I supposed to do in this surreal situation? Why am I now the caretaker of someone else’s perishable goods?

Sometimes life where I live is odd.

I prefer winter

I sit here under a duvet trying to keep myself warm. I was brought up in an old house that didn’t have central heating. I’ve lived in the house I’m in now for over 5 years yet I still forget that it has heating. I’m still in the mindset of “if it’s cold, wrap up warm”.

I love the winter because of that. In the summer, if you get too hot you’re stuffed. On the winter, if it’s too cold you’ve got somewhere to go.

I’ve had this discussion so many times before.